Important Tips to Buy Aircraft Spare Parts
Purchasing of aircraft spare parts is a tricky business. There are thousands of vendors, distributors, OEMs and search platforms available that provide information on spare parts and offer Free Quotations. The price varies depending on many factors, such as condition, manufacturer, delivery, stocks, airworthiness certifications, warranty, traceability, source, location, and terms of sale. Understanding of these factors are important for you to purchase correct part for realistic price.
Selecting a right source is important when you purchase parts. It is important to verify that vendor or distributor is legitimate, renowned and reliable for after sales services, timely delivery and warranty claims. Following are some uniqueness of different types of vendors who offer aircraft spare parts for sale or exchange.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
Aircraft manufacturers provides spare parts for the aircraft manufactured by the same. This is the most reliable source of purchasing aircraft parts and buyers can purchase parts with less ambiguity. OEMs offers latest parts mostly factory new condition or new condition with OEM warranty. OEM maintains stocks and reliable source for AOG purchases. However, availability of OH condition, SVC or AR condition spare parts are very limited. Also, payment terms are strict. Buyers have to register with OEM for purchase of parts directly from them. OEMs have their regional representatives or authorised distributors where the buyer can purchase parts for the OEM price. Since OEMs are publishing annual price listings for their parts and the buyers can have a prior knowledge on the price of the spare parts.
There are two types of aircraft parts distributors, namely; authorised distributors by OEM and general distributors. Buyers can purchase parts from authorised distributors on the same price as of OEM. However, general distributors are not authorised distributors of OEM parts, but offer different condition items such as OHC, SVC and AR other than the NE for competitive prices as of OEM. Mostly they are hardly not type specific vendors. General distributors are specialized on many types of aircraft, and consumables. However, authorised distributors are having limited scope restricted to few OEMs mostly.
In addition, it is important to know the specifications of spare parts what you want to buy. Following are important factors on deciding specifications.
Part Number: Part Number has to be exactly as per the illustrated part catalogue of the aircraft and should be effective for the aircraft type, model and serial number. However, there are compatible part numbers for the same components mostly because of different manufacturers of the components and availability of PMA parts. Also, there are certain addition to existing part numbers to indicate upgrades or modifications introduced to the components. Price of the item depends on the manufacturer, PMA or OEM parts, and modifications embodied to the components.
Condition: Condition codes of the spare parts are explained as follows. Price of the spare parts significantly depends on these conditions codes.
Factory New (FN)
Parts manufactured by Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and could be purchased for OEM, an authorized distributor, or another reputable vendor. These parts include Manufacturers’ Certifications (MFG CERTS and one or more airworthiness certifications such as FAA Form 8130-3, EASA Form 1, JAA Form 1, SEG VOO 003, TC Form 1, Certificate of Conformance, Packing Slip, Transfer Ticket or Invoice.
New Material (NE)
Parts manufactured by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and could be purchased from OEM, an authorized distributor, or other reputable vendor. These parts possess Manufacturers’ Certificates of Conformance. Some parts or material parts lack complete trace from the current supplier to the OEM resulting the vendors issue their own Certificate of Conformance (COC) along with the manufacturers’ names and lot numbers.
New Surplus (NS)
New Surplus parts are new material purchased as excess inventory. They may or may not possess traceability to the OEM. Regardless of traceability, New Surplus parts will carry Component’s Certificate of Conformance issued by the vendor.
A part that has been rebuilt and tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications by a repair facility approved by the Federal Aviation Administration or the European Aviation Safety Agency or any other Civil aviation Authority. Depending on the classification and airworthiness of the component, it may possess a FAA 8130-3 Tag or an EASA Form 1.
Parts tested and/or repaired in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications by an FAA or EASA approved repair facility and possess a FAA 8130-3 Tag or an EASA Form 1.
Parts that are not necessarily broken or damaged, do not meet performance standards defined by the OEM, FAA or EASA due to normal wear and tear but repairable to restore the part to a serviceable status. Repairable parts often lack official documentation such as certifications, trace and tags.
As Removed (AR)
Parts extracted from aircraft that may function flawlessly, however, the supplier cannot guarantee their quality; nor can it claim that another party can repair or test them to approved standards. In short, the supplier sells As Removed parts "as is."
Airworthiness certification: This is a most important document that certify the airworthiness condition of the spare part or component. The documents indicates condition of the item, OEM details, inspected date and signature of certifying staff. Certain components carry dual certifications namely FAA Form 8130 and EASA Form 1. Some countries issue their own CAA F 8130 or Form 1 to certify the airworthiness. However, price of the component slightly change with the number of certifications available for particular spare part of component.
Warranty: Full warranty is offered by the OEM if the component or part is FN or NE condition. However, comparatively less warranty is offered for OHC and SVC items by repair workshops. The warranty is mostly offered for workmanship and very limitedly offered for materials used. Warranty period is also a factor that decides final price of the spare part.
Delivery: OEMs ask more time if the rack spares are not available. Also, if components undergoes OH, the vendors ask more time for the delivery. However, delivery time is also directly affects the final price of the component especially for AOG conditions.
Traceability: This is important to know whether the component history is in compliance with airworthiness standards. This apply for OH, SVC and AR condition components.
Important: The margin kept by vendors are so standardised. However, most renowned and reliable source keep steady margins over the unit price ranging up to 10%. However, certain vendors keep exaggerated margins making the unit price highly unrealistic. Therefore, it is important to have a basic knowledge of market price or OEM price before you ask RFQs from vendors.